The ENFP personality type is nicknamed The Optimist and belongs to the NF Empath temperament. The Optimist can be categorized as enthusiastic, expressive and charismatic leaders. They are spontaneous, wild and possess a zest for life. One might even say that they are bold dreamers, unconstrained by reality. ENFPs are driven by their values and strive to champion the causes they believe in, through their resourceful, visionary and creative nature.
Already have your test results? Keep reading to find out things like:
- What characterizes ENFPs?
- What are their strengths and weaknesses?
- Which famous people are ENFPs?
- What jobs suit this type best?
- How compatible are ENFPs with other types?
But first — let’s see, in a nutshell, what this personality type is.
The Optimist directs their energy outward, which makes them social, talkative and assertive. ENFPs love people and are gregarious. Because of their extreme extroversion, they are energized by social interaction and dislike being alone. The Intuitive nature of ENFPs makes their thought process intriguingly deep, future-oriented and allows them to see endless possibilities. The abundance of ENFP imagination and idealism means that it’s never boring in their heads – often, they are filled with abstract and complex thoughts. ENFPs are Feelers that make decisions with their heart. They are warm, sensitive and can easily empathize with others because of their deeply caring nature. The Optimist is adaptable, flexible and easygoing. They live with a carefree attitude and like to keep their options open.
ENFPs romanticize and idealize their relationships. They are charming and can establish a connection effortlessly. Nothing interests this personality type more than discussing deep issues and being able to share ideas, activities and interests. The ENFP quest for magic in relationships often leaves them feeling unsatisfied. This is likely because they give everything of themselves and expect to be supported and nurtured in return.
“Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.” — Charles Dickens
ENFPs are social learners. They learn best when their creativity and imagination are given free rein. They have a real need to please teachers and classmates. They love to integrate knowledge with the big picture. And although their thought process may seem random to people that don’t know them, it is surprisingly connective on an intuitive level.
ENFP Key Facts
ENFPs are one of the NF temperament personality types (also known as Diplomats, Empaths, or Watchers). These types are often characterized as introspective and intuitive people, who are also highly idealistic. They are compassionate, with a desire to contribute goodness and meaning into the world.
Here are some key facts that will help you get to know the ENFP personality type better:
- They are among the highest-scored types in successfully managing their stress.
- They also are among the most likely types to have trouble in school (according to psychologists).
- You’ll find many academically talented elementary school students to share this type.
- Their top personal values are Friendship, Learning, Freedom, Family and Creativity.
- And last but not least – they are likely to get a career in religion, counseling and teaching.
What does ENFP stand for?
If you are new to the MBTI personality type concept, you probably wonder what the ENFP abbreviation stands for.
The ENFP letters stand for the 4 Preferences that this type consists of: Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling and Perceiving. Preferences are the unique dimensions, that characterize a personality type, and are based on a concept, developed by Jung.
Personality types are also defined by their stack of Cognitive Functions, which determine how they make decisions and process information. There are also 4 of them, similarly to the Preferences, and they follow a strictly individual order for each type — from dominant to inferior.
Below we will discuss both of these important concepts that make up this (and every other) personality type.
Let’s take a closer look at what the 4 ENFP Preferences stand for.
Extraversion is characterized by a preference to focus on the world outside the self. ENFPs are energized by social gatherings, parties and group activities. Extraverts are usually enthusiastic, gregarious and animated. Their communication style is verbal and assertive. As Extraverts, ENFPs often need to talk. They enjoy the spotlight.
People with Intuition live in the future. They are immersed in the world of possibilities. They process information through patterns and impressions. As Intuitives, ENFPs value inspiration and imagination. They gather knowledge by reading between the lines. Their abstract nature attracts them toward deep ideas, concepts and metaphors.
As Feeling people, ENFPs are subjective. They make decisions based on their principles and values. They are ruled by their heart instead of their head. ENFPs judge situations and others based on their feelings and extenuating circumstances. They seek to please others and want to be appreciated. They value harmony and empathy.
Perceiving refers to a person’s adaptability and flexibility. The Optimist is a random thinker who prefers to keep their options open. They thrive with the unexpected and are open to change. They are spontaneous and often juggle several projects at once. They enjoy starting a task more than finishing it. ENFPs don’t see why work and play should be separate concepts and do their best to incorporate both in their lives at the same time.
ENFP Cognitive Functions
As we already mentioned, every person engages the world through four Cognitive Functions. Each function can be either Introverted (the energy is directed inward) or Extroverted (the energy is directed outward). The ENFP’s primary function is Extraverted Intuition and the secondary is Introverted Feeling.
Let’s take a look at the full ENFP function stack.
Extraverted Intuition (Primary)
ENFPs use this function most often. With Intuition (N), ENFPs process new information through impressions, possibilities and meanings. Extraverted Intuition allows them to see different paths forward. When an ENFP receives information, they are able to see that there is more than one way to look at things.
Introverted Feeling (Secondary)
ENFP’s use of this function is somewhat high. When Feeling (F), Advocates make decisions based on emotions and hunches, so the Introverted Feeling function allows them to know what they value. It is the ability to see through others and know what they are like as if the ENFP had internal radar. There is a desire to connect when they identify a person with similar values.
Extraverted Thinking (Tertiary)
ENFPs use this function, but to a lesser degree. While Thinking (T), ENFPs make decisions based on logic. The Extraverted Thinking function enables them to organize and categorize their thoughts and arguments. This function translates in the ability to see the logical consequences of actions. It also follows a rational sequence and organization.
Introverted Sensing (Inferior)
ENFPs use this function the least of the four. Through Sensing (S), ENFPs process data with their five senses. The Introverted Sensing function allows them to remember data in detail and to compare it with current information. It is the ability to link present experiences to past experiences in search of a connection.
ENFP Traits and Characteristics
Hopefully by now, we’ve given you a good understanding about what ENFPs are like. But we want to build a full picture of this personality type. In this section we will take a brief look at their prominent characteristics, as well as strengths and weaknesses they possess. You can also take a look at our comprehensive and detailed article about ENFP traits and characteristics.
Another way of achieving a better understanding of this personality type is by comparing it to the other 15 MBTI types. What are their similarities and differences, in what ways do they relate and can they peacefully coexist? We wrote an in-depth analysis on this topic, which can give you further insights into this personality type.
ENFPs are often described with the following words:
Strengths and Weaknesses
The following are some ENFP strengths and weaknesses that are typical of this personality type. Of course, some representatives may demonstrate them more than others, but each one of them demonstrates them to a certain degree.
As previously stated, ENFPs are a part of the NF temperament personality type. According to official MBTI Institute data, this branch makes up 16.5% of all personality types. Individually, ENFPs make up 8.1% of the population in the USA. Here are some curious percentage insights:
- ENFPs make up 8.1% of all 16 personality types. Of the NF types, ENFPs are the most prevalent. Intuition, Feeling and Perceiving are less common as dominant preferences than their opposites.
- 1 in every 12 females is an ENFP (8% of all females). 1 in every 16 males is an ENFP (6% of all males). Male ENFPs are one of the least common type-gender combinations for Extraverts.
- There are more female ENFPs than there are male ENFPs. Just over 40% of ENFPs are male. One reason there are more female ENFPs is that females tend to be Feelers (F) while males are more often Thinkers (T).
The distribution of the MBTI types is uneven but very interesting — there is much insightful data being gathered, the most common and rarest types have been determined, supported by statistics and other interesting facts.
Other ENFP Names
The MBTI theory is becoming increasingly popular in many aspects of people’s lives (working, educational, and personal). So it should come as no surprise that different sources give their own names to each of the personality types. Here is a list of how you can see ENFPs labeled:
- Journalist or Champion, according to David Keisey, an American psychologist and university professor
- Discoverer Advocate, according to Linda Berens, a human and organizational development practitioner
- Enthusiastic Innovator, according to Alan Brownsword, author of Psychological Type: An Introduction
- Pied Piper, according to Jonathan P. Niednagel, developer of Brain Typing
- Campaigner, according to the 16 Personalities website
And last but not least:
- Imaginative Innovator, according to the official MBTI website
BONUS: here are some other names you can stumble upon when reading about this personality type on the Internet:
- Creative Idealist
- Embracive Expresser
- Idealist Champion
- imaginative Motivator
- Impassioned Evangelist
- Motivated Mingler
ENFPs make for some of the most colorful and memorable celebrities and fictional characters around. As you already may have noticed, they have a way with people and it’s easy for others to develop a liking to them. Their natural creative inclination makes them talented actors, skillful musicians and original authors. ENFPs also make for idealistic leaders, which captivate their audiences and quickly build a following.
This personality type gives us some of the funniest fictional characters as well. You can find ENFPs in TV shows, movies, anime and comic books. And although they normally fit in the shoes of the stereotypical wide-eyed protagonist, there are some exceptions to this rule — yes, ENFP villains do exist.
In case you’re interested, you can take a look at this epic list of 153 famous ENFP people and characters. It also includes short analyses of prominent musicians, actors and even anime characters. Below, we have summarized some of the categories you can find there.
ENFPs are naturally drawn to acting. Their creative juices are always looking for ways to best express themselves and acting can be one way to do so. Given that ENFPs don’t like routine and are very expressive people, they view acting as a way to become someone else for a while and escape from their current reality. ENFPs are also very perceptive about their roles and can be very serious about their craft — resulting in some of the best-known actors we know and love today.
- Keira Knightley, British actress (Pirates of the Carribean; Pride & Prejudice)
- Sandra Bullock, U.S.-German actress (The Blind Side; The Proposal; Speed)
- Will Smith, U.S. actor and musician (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; Bad Boys; Aladdin)
- Tom Holland, British actor (Spiderman: Homecoming; Avengers: Endgame)
- Ellen Degeneres, U.S. actress, comedian and TV host (Ellen; Finding Dory)
ENFPs have vivid imagination and aren’t afraid to challenge reality. They often come up with very unusual ideas and are eager to explore the unknown. People of this type don’t put themselves in a box, which is evident in their writing. Some of the greatest writers of all time come from this personality type and each of them has contributed something to world literature. ENFP stories are highly original and are unmatched in their immersiveness, and in some cases — authenticity.
- Anne Frank, German-Jewish diarist (The Diary of a Young Girl)
- Kurt Vonnegut, U.S. novelist (The Sirens of Titan, Armageddon in Retrospect)
- Mark Twain, U.S. author (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn)
- Charles Dickens, English author (Oliver Twist; A Chrismas Carol; Great Expectations)
- Dr. Seuss, U.S. children’s book author (The Cat in the Hat; How the Grinch Stole Christmas!)
Sometimes the ENFP energy and passion can’t be translated solely in words — that’s when music comes in. This personality type has given us some very prominent musicians, and for good reason. ENFPs are masters of improvisation and love the spotlight. They often have big ideas about the world around them — relationships, people, abstract notions. This is where their lyrical gift helps them express their thoughts and feelings in an equally abstract and poetic way.
- Bob Dylan, American singer-songwriter and poet
- Cher, American singer and actress; the “Goddess of Pop”
- Gwen Stefani, co-founder and lead vocalist of No Doubt
- Justin Bieber, Canadian singer-songwriter
- John Lennon, founder and co-lead vocalist of The Beatles
ENFPs are known as very idealistic people. They are often willing to fight passionately for what they believe in and it’s hard for others to resist and not follow their preaching. ENFPs are very charismatic and know how to say things in a way that will make people listen. This being said, it shouldn’t surprise you that they make very influential and notable politicians as well. Some of them aren’t known in a good light — this shows that their charm often is universal.
- Barack Obama. The 44th President of the U.S.A
- Farah Diba, Shahbanu of Iran
- Fidel Castro, Prime Minister and president of Cuba
- Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, President of Portugal
- Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the U.S.A
ENFP Fictional Characters
ENFPs fit the typical idealistic and larger-than-life protagonist of fiction. They are inspired explorers who are often pursuing an ambitious dream they’ve had their entire lives. Once they embark on their quest to make this dream come true, nothing can stop them. They defeat any challenge along the way with their undying optimism, quirkiness and mandatory sidekick character (or characters) who are bound to be there for them. They are bold and have a strong belief in others and themselves.
- Rapunzel, Tangled
- Michael Scott, The Office
- Frank Gallagher, Shameless
- Josephine “Jo” March, Little Women
- Howl, Howl’s Moving Castle
- Ellie, Up
- Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreations
The natural charm and warm character of ENFPs makes them compatible with nearly any other MBTI type. However, some might not see their energy and quirkiness as a good thing and may even be annoyed by it.
SJ temperament types (ESTJ, ESFJ, ISTJ and ISFJ) are the least likely to be impressed by the hyperactive and spontaneous ENFPs. This is because the main Preferences that drive them (Sensing and Judging) compel them to have a completely opposing life philosophy than ENFPs. They like order and following rules, and make their decisions based on logic and practicality. They are likely to not see the carefree spirit of ENFPs as a good quality, but rather as one that comes across as irresponsible and unreliable. This is why any relationship between these personality types and an ENFP is likely to be very challenging and rocky for both sides.
Even so, ENFPs typically make for very empathetic partners and friends. Let’s take a look at how they behave in different social relationships.
ENFPs take all their relationships very seriously — especially romantic ones. They have an idealised perception of love and tend to see their partner as a soulmate. Being very giving and caring individuals, they are likely to give a huge amount of effort and dedication to the other person. Their empathy and willingness to provide plenty of emotional support easily makes their chosen partner feel important and cherished. ENFPs don’t like shallow relationships and, to them, romance is the culmination of a meaningful connection. Even though they are known as flirts who fall in love too easily, if they are not able to sense the deeper connection that they yearn for, they will likely feel miserable and misunderstood.
Given their many good qualities, it’s easy to see why ENFPs can get along with just about anybody. They make for compassionate partners who are always there for their loved ones and are ready to fight beside them. However, there are a few personality types with which they are likely to get along more naturally than others. Here they are:
ENFP and INTJ
Even though ENFPs and INTJs may seem worlds apart at a first glance, they are regarded as one of the most compatible combinations. Both these types have a very strong inclination to pursue atypical ideas and possibilities. They are also very independent and considered as having unconventional natures. Even with all their differences, they manage to bring out the best in each other and complement their individual flaws. Since they both are freedom-loving personalities, they acknowledge the others’ need for space and time, dedicated to self-development. This is a pairing that can work extremely well to the benefit of both parties, if they accept their differences in thinking and view them as a means to grow their own character.
ENFP and INFJ
This is a pairing with plenty of long-term potential. ENFPs and INFJs make for a very curious couple, since they use their cognitive functions in the exact same order, but they are mirrored in each type. If one has Introverted Intuition, the other one has Extroverted Intuition and so on. This translates to them being able to give each other uniquely different perspectives if they find themselves in similar situations. They are both very similar, yet very different — which makes for a good environment for self-improvement. ENFPs and INFJs balance each other well and can push their partner to develop in lacking areas. What’s best, they do so in a non-intrusive, empathetic way, which is a signature for all NF temperament types.
These are the two matches that have the best potential for a harmonious relationship with an ENFP. It’s not like they can’t get along with anyone else though — you can read a full evaluation of their compatibility with the other 14 personality types (including themselves) in this ENFP Relationships article.
ENFPs make for great and supportive friends. They are very empathetic and can easily relate with their friends’ feelings. Because of how approachable and laid back they are, people often confide in them and ask for their opinions. ENFPs enjoy that greatly, as they are always willing to provide a shoulder to cry on and often take on their friends’ problems as their own. This leads to people often perceiving them as a steady rock or even a safe haven. Sometimes ENFPs can care too much for their friends and experience their pain as their own. This can be bad, as it can lead them to experience emotions that are not their own, leading to burn out.
Loyal, trustworthy and warm — is there a better combination of characteristics, when we are talking about friends? ENFPs love people and love to be able to help people. However, it’s not easy to connect to everyone in the same way. Some people don’t understand ENFPs and might even think that they are too eager, nosey and should keep to themselves more. Which personality types find it harder to establish a friendship with ENFPs?
ENFP and ISTJ
These two types have virtually nothing in common — you can deduct that just by taking a look at their Preferences. ISTJs may perceive ENFPs as too loud, unorganized and hectic, which clashes with their own way of doing things. This type doesn’t place much importance on emotions, unlike the feeling ENFP. ISTJs will struggle hard to find logic in ENFPs behavior, but it will keep eluding them. Instead, they will be quick to conclude that they are childlike and immature. Similarly, ENFPs will likely regard ISTJs as cold and boring people, who always abide by the rules and can’t have fun.
ENFP and ISTP
Even though these two types have some shared characteristics — for example creativity and being able to adapt to unexpected situations — they can hardly become friends. ISTPs are fairly grounded and rely on action, while ENFPs tend to daydream a lot and indulge in lengthy philosophical conversations. ISTPs can’t see the use of considering future possibilities to such a great extent and are likely to question this side of ENFPs. They also don’t understand how a person could be so driven by emotions and in what way this can be beneficial for them — considering they are a highly logical and practical personality type.
ENFP and ESTJ
Again, the reason why a friendship between these two types is unlikely is because of their differing friendship values. ENFPs are willing to provide a great deal of emotional support to their friends and expect them to do the same when the need for this strikes. ESTJs on the other hand are more practical and stray away from emotionality, in which they see no use. Instead they rely on practical, logical and actionable advice, which can solve their friend’s problems fast. These two types won’t be able to provide each other with what they need in terms of friendship, which can negatively impact both sides.
ENFPs are very caring and playful parents. They are often entranced by their children and how they take in the world around them. They are likely to feel that they themselves are rediscovering the world via their child. ENFP parents often encourage their children to be curious and give them a lot of freedom to develop their own unique abilities and likings. Given that ENFPs themselves are very energetic and have a child-like zest for life, they are often seen more as friends to their children than actual parents.
This can be problematic, as they tend to over empathize with their children and struggle with implying stricter parenting techniques. ENFPs aren’t fans of punishing their children, which may lead to the child taking advantage of this perceived weakness. They need to learn that being more firm doesn’t necessarily make for a bad parent. Another thing they can struggle with is keeping up with the daily routine of parenthood. Since routine is something they don’t particularly like, it could be very difficult for them to get into it willingly. This is why they need to practice — be it by washing dishes, being on time for school meetings, or staying in the loop about their children’s activities.
Even though they are very dedicated and loving parents, ENFPs should be careful not to lose their own identity along the way. Their level of emotional connection to their child is admirable but it shouldn’t overrule their own needs. This is why self-care is essential for their personality type, since when they become parents, they tend to disregard themselves as less important, in favor of their child.
ENFPs at Work
As we said over and over again — ENFPs are friendly, fun and energetic — and the workplace is no exception. They prefer a flexible work environment, where they can work according to their own rhythm and the rules aren’t set in stone. They are creative workers and thrive in places where this creativity is encouraged. Skilled at idea generation and offering innovative solutions, ENFPs are an integral part of any creative team. They also prefer it that way — given their extraverted nature, they are always pleased when given the chance to collaborate on projects.
This being said, the corporate environment hardly ever suits ENFPs. They are more motivated to work in a setting which doesn’t frown upon their unique expression of themselves and on the contrary — even encourages it. ENFPs are very independent workers and dislike being constrained in boxes. They need variety in their work responsibilities to ensure that they don’t get bored — which is a weakness of theirs. This is why mundane tasks aren’t to their liking. In a perfect scenario, their job will consist of working with people to improve their own abilities somehow, or make a positive change in the world.
The work habits of ENFPs, as well as ENFP career matches and ENFP careers to avoid, is an extensive and interesting subject. Below we have laid out a small overview of some career paths they are likely to enjoy and be especially good at.
Being curious as they are, ENFPs are naturally interested in many different things. Many of these interests are connected to their own self-development and growth, but some also aim to help others out as well. This is why the perfect job for an ENFP should challenge them in some way or make a positive impact in the lives of others. Or both. One big problem that ENFPs face, however, is their extreme dislike for routine and organized work. For them it’s very important to find their job engaging every day, which sometimes can be hard to do.
Below we have listed several ENFP careers in which these people can particularly excel, and are likely to find intriguing for a long time.
Sales and Customer Service
When it comes to persuasion and networking, ENFPs are naturals. Their superior communication skills make it easy for them to connect to others and convince them of their point of view. As natural visionaries they are also able to see future outcomes of their decisions. Driven by their deep intuition and vivid imagination, they aren’t afraid to be bold in their vision, while inspiring others along the way with their contagious passion. Because of their heightened sense of idealism, people flock to them and it doesn’t take long for them to believe in their cause. What’s more, because of their heightened sense of empathy, ENFPs often have a deeper understanding of others’ feelings, which can aid them greatly in certain situations.
Here are some examples in this area of work:
- Brand Manager
- Sales Manager
- Real Estate Agent
- Customer Support Specialist
Humanities and Arts
ENFPs are very creative people. Often this creativity of theirs is very unexpected and defies conventional understandings. This is why they will feel very comfortable in a humanities or art position. Jobs in these fields hardly ever get boring and have a lot of diversity to offer them. They also typically welcome any innovative ideas or experimentation for the sake of creating better art. This is exactly what ENFPs are looking for, or at least one of the main criterias that make for their dream job. Most occupations in Humanities and Arts also deal with people on somewhat of a daily basis, which is an added bonus for the extroverted ENFPs.
Here are some examples in this area of work:
Similarly to artistic occupations, jobs in Commercial Media offer ENFPs just the right mixture of social interaction, work flexibility and creativity. Typically, jobs in this field rely on heavy collaborative effort from people of different departments. This is paradise for the outgoing ENFPs, as they perceive such projects as a way to expand their horizons with knowledge from other people. Moreover, jobs in Commercial Media are often very dynamic and no two days are the same. This further feeds the freedom- and adventure-loving ENFPs, so they are likely to be very good at what they are doing.
Here are some examples in this area of work:
- PR Specialist
Given everything you’ve read about ENFPs up until now, it should hardly surprise you that they are very humorous and show this side of themselves quite often. Their jokes don’t take themselves too seriously and they are quite the active jesters, being able to twist the conversation in a lighthearted direction at any time. However, ENFP humor can get quite dark at times. This can be explained both because they aren’t stiff and uptight and often like to joke around with all sorts of topics, and because of their Feeling nature. It can make them very sensitive to their environment, which is why dark humor can be used as a coping mechanism. This reflects as either jokes about the situation they are in or self deprecating jokes.
ENFPs often use humor as a means to connect to other people and ease any tension that they perceive in their environment. It can sometimes come across as not funny at all to more traditional personality types, but ENFPs have a way of tickling nearly everyone’s funny bone. This is in part because of their very particular sense of humor. You can see what we mean below.
Apart from being skilled at self-depicting humor, ENFPs also have a thing for terrible puns. Also known as “dad jokes,” these are terrible puns which ENFPs like telling to people simply for the reason that they are terrible. This often makes people laugh simply because ENFPs seem so pleased and wholeheartedly happy with the joke they made. Here’s a sample of some typical ENFP jokes:
- My wife is really mad at the fact that I have no sense of direction. So I packed up my stuff and right.
- If a child refuses to sleep during nap time, are they guilty of resisting a rest?
- What do you call someone with no body and no nose? Nobody knows.
This is just a small sample of the kind of humor ENFPs have — though they have much more than this to offer.
ENFPs are extremely inspired people. They find inspiration everywhere around them — and what people say to them is no exception. Even if those sayings aren’t directed at them personally, ENFPs can extract meaning and deep insights about life from any conscious quote. The following are some quotes by notable people, which ENFPs might find particularly inspiring. They also capture the life philosophy of this Myers-Briggs personality type very well.
“I’m going to find a way to be happy, and I’d really love to be happy with you, but if I can’t be happy with you, then I’ll find a way to be happy without you.” – Randy Pausch
“I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.” – E. B. White
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” – Jack Kerouac